So what kind of business CAN you get rich from?

One line I hear/read time and time again is that “you’ll never get rich doing X, Y, or Z”. Thing is X, Y, and Z account for every type of business I’ve ever looked into… nothing legal seems to have good profit margins. So just what CAN you plan on getting rich doing, if anything?

I’m not talking about working as Donald Trump or Bill Gates righthand man but starting up more or less on your own. I’m also thinking about professions that don’t require massive education and/or years of serious training and certification like dentistry or law. From a business planning point of view, can we also eliminate what you might call “luck”… such as being born with a supermodle’s looks, Eric Clapton’s talent, or being discovered by Hollywood while pumping a movie director’s gas? And lastly, if realistic, something that doesn’t require many hundreds of thousands of dollars or more up front to get off the ground.

I also know that hard work (which usually ends up meaning long hours) accounts for a lot of success; but if a guys wants to work 8-10hr days, have most weekends and maybe 1-2 weeks off per year, is it realistic to expect to ever “get rich” (taking into consideration the 2nd paragraph)?

I’ve heard all kinds of talk about “this guy I know” who makes huge money doing simple work about 6 months a year while vacationing and partying the rest of the year. Unfortunately these stories always come from young, attractive girls who met “this guy” in a bar :rolleyes: , and a little digging usually results in finding out the guy makes $12/ hour and gets fired a lot :stuck_out_tongue: … so idealy I’d like to omit claims like these.

Possibly real estate.

According to “The Millionaire Next Door”, most new (self-made) millionaires do it by starting a small business and then either building it into a big business OR opening multiple copies of the small one/franchising it.

I think the preponderance of them were service businesses – laundries, housecleaning, accountants, copy shops and so forth.

Oh, probably should have added: the guys (and, usually, their wives) worked like dogs at the beginning, gave great quality/customer service, and lived as cheap as possible while plowing almost every penny of profit back into their business.

So, no, sounds like a “I only want to work 40 hrs a week, want to take vacations and enjoy my time off (assuming that means spending money), and I don’t want to have to study hard or acquire any special talents” attitude is not what gets you to the big time.

Maybe you could try buying lottery tickets.

I’d have to say real estate and stock market are the two big industries.
If you are an entrepreneur type, you can make a lot of money finding niche markets and providing products to fill them. Usually you can charge your customers a lot of money for the products and you will eventually get bought up by a larger company and you can cash out. This however requires a lot of work and foresight in the beginning. My old boss did this selling protocol converters for medical imaging digital systems. He was doing very well, however he was too stubborn to cash out when he had the chance, now he is in trouble financially.

Brokers (real estate and others) can make good money by putting together buyers and sellers and taking a commission from the deal.

Of course you have to be familiar with the business you’re brokering in, have at least enough understanding of the law that you don’t break it, or allow your clients to break it, be available to answer your clients’ questions 24/7, and actually find and hold on to buyers and sellers who want you to manage the deal.

And if the deal falls apart at any stage you don’t get paid squat for all the time you’ve put in.

On the other hand, I keep hearing on-line porn offers a high return on investment.

I have my own small business, and I also work full time, and I can assure you, you just can’t do it at 8 hours a week. Why? There is too much competition for “easy” money. If you can’t provide the goods/service/whatever when the client wants it, they WILL go somewhere else. It’s not all hard work, though. It’s easier to work long hours if you love or believe in what you do. While it may be hard, demeaning, drudgery to others, if you can dig it, you are half way there.

What I did before I started was talked to every (non-competing) small business owner I knew for an honest assessment of what was going down, tips, and what a typical week was like. There are small business owners that take lots of vacations and aren’t very good with money, but they don’t last long.

Bottom line is: if I saw a guy working 8 hours a day and he was getting rich - I would do that too, only I’d work 12 hours a day (expecting to make what guy A is making * 1.5.) Or else I’d also work that 8 hours a day and so would a lot of other people until it’s financially impossible for us all to be rich.

One of the guys that used to work read in the newspaper that you could make $40,000 a year scanning porn for a living. Whenever something happened that was bad financially for the company he would say, “Well I could go scan porn for $40,000 a year.” :smiley:

You can make quite good money (not Donald Trump money, but enough to be very comfortable), if you’re a good businessman (and believe you me, a lot of people aren’t) in the skilled trades - in other words, by working your ass off to build your plumbing business. But you have to be 1) a very good plumber (or whatever skilled trade you’re good at), 2) willing to work extremely hard for many years, and not just at the plumbing side of the business, and 3) it helps to have a supportive spouse who also works his/her ass off for your business. Oh, and none of this will be any good to you at all unless you can also find 4) reliable help, otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy any of your money. Ever.

But one can still be quite comfortable self-employed in that sort of skilled trade - it’s also the kind of thing you can apprentice into and eventually take over as your own business sometimes. Of course, it helps to be in a market that’s got a scarcity of good plumbers, it helps to have built-in clients (like when you take over the business from the old boss, or, preferably, your dad), etc, etc, etc. But regardless, at least you’ll never have to pay a plumber to come to your house, at least.

Well, if you’re female, you can be a Mary Kay Consultant. Sky’s the limit there. You do have to work at it, but once you have a steady client base and a good team of recruits, the money gets good.

Here are the niches I found:

  • <b>Restaurant owner.</b> In this particular case, it was a restaurant that served breakfast and lunch in a college town right across the street from the campus (the Ye Old Waffle Shop, Chapel Hill, N.C.). There was a counter with six stools and probably two dozen tables, tops. The co-owners came in early and worked until about 3 p.m. They had a night manager handle the late shift and weekends. Because of its location, it did a great business (it helped that they did terrific pancakes and omelets), and I would suspect they had a limited menu of the basics that help keep their food expenses stable. They worked hard during the nine hours they were there, but they seemed to do all right.

  • <b>Free-lance writer.</b> Robert W. Bly (not the men’s movement author and poet) has written books about how you can earn a six-figure income writing. It takes a lot of hustle and an ability to find a niche market (say, medical issues) and churn out the copy. If you get into corporate writing – prospectives for financial companies, year-end reports, ad copy – the pay is much better.

I was skeptical of Bly’s word, so I approached a friend of mine who works in this field and asked him if it was BS. He said it wasn’t. While he wasn’t earning six figures, he was doing fine, and able to support a wife and child (the wife does work, however) and he also owns a house.

  • <b>Newspaper publishing.</b> My favorite. I interviewed a good old boy who runs a small newspaper in North Carolina. He drew on parttime interns from the local journalism school for some his copy (cheap to pay). His ace in the hole was his sole fulltime reporter, whose job was to sit in court and record all the cases.

He would then print the copy, which included all the details of the testimony and everybody’s name, age and race. He also quoted the judge’s lecture to the defendant/convicted. This newspaper was distributed county-wide to all the 7-Elevens, and I’m not even sure he had home delivery, but his content guaranteed that he sold out his print run regularly.

In general, if you can develop a skill, you’ll probably find a market for it. I’ve known a knife-maker who did custom work; he always had a waiting list. I’ve seen people doing home-repair work that the contractors wouldn’t touch; there’s a demand for that. A seamstress across the street from my home in York, S.C., did steady work in prom and wedding dresses without even advertising; simple word of mouth brought her the jobs.